Bolton Wanderers come into this mid week encounter against promotion favourates Stoke City on the back of an impressive victory over Frank Lampard’s Derby County. This ended a five game winless run in the league for the Trotters.
Stoke have failed to get going so far this season languishing in 17th place on 10 points. As of late they have only really started playing once at least 2-0 down. Rotherham United went 2-0 up at the weekend only to be pegged back to 2-2. Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers both went 3-0 up before riding out the storm to win 3-2.
This shows us a few things about our opponents. At the moment they are not very good at stopping other teams scoring and tend to start games slowly. Once they get going though they have the attacking threat to turn a game on its head.
That is no surprise when we will be coming up against Thomas Ince, Bojan, Sadio Berahino and the evergreen Peter Crouch. Oh and they also have former Wanderer Benik Afobe who is surely destined to score tonight.
Bolton were unbeaten against Stoke the last time they were in the same league recording a 5-0 win at home before drawing 2-2 at tonights venue. There has been a six year gap without a competitive fixture between the sides because Jonathan Walters pushed Adam Bogdan to score in our last meeting.
Marc Wilson returns from suspension with Bolton’s squad being otherwise unchanged. That means Remi Matthews will continue between the sticks with Ben Alnwick still injured.
After beating Derby this could spell an unchanged side. I would certainly not expect Phil Parkinson to tinker with the defensive unit which kept Derby at bay. It seems that Will Buckley, Craig Noone and Ertum Oztumer all did more than enough to justify getting another start. Changes may though be considered due to the volume of games ahead of the weekends match in front of the Sky cameras against Blackburn.
James McClean has missed recent game weeks with a broken arm but could feature for Stoke. Beyond some other knocks which are not expected to rule anyone out, Stoke only have their longer term injuries to worry about. These include former Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf.
Stoke - 8/15
Draw - 29/10
Bolton - 11/2
Anything could happen in this game given how inconsistent both teams have been this season. 0-0 appears highly unlikely and I am going to say Stoke will take it 2-1.